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24 October 2007
Responsibility to Protect Engaging Civil Society
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In this issue: [UN Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon States Intentions on R2P in UN Day Speech; R2P Applied in Burma/Myanmar; R2P in the News; Commentary on Darfur and Upcoming Events]

I. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon States Intentions on R2P in UN Day Speech

II. R2P Applied in Burma/Myanmar

II. R2P in the News

III. Commentary on Darfur

IV. Upcoming Events

I. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon States Intentions on R2P in UN Day Speech

UN Press Release
24 October 2007

The world is changing in the United Nations favour -- as more people and Governments understand that multilateralism is the only path in our interdependent and globalizing world. Global problems demand global solutions -- and going it alone is not a viable option. Whether we are speaking of peace and security, development or human rights, demands on our Organization are growing every day.

I am determined to ensure that we make progress on the pressing issues of our time, step by step, building on achievements along the way, working with Member States and civil society. That means strengthening the United Nations ability to play its role to the fullest extent in conflict prevention, peacemaking, peacekeeping and peacebuilding. And it means invigorating our efforts for disarmament and non-proliferation.

At the same time, we must redouble our efforts to reach the Millennium Development Goals, particularly in Africa. I will seek to mobilize political will and hold leaders to their commitments on aid, trade and debt relief.

() If security and development are two pillars of the United Nations work, human rights is the third. I will work with Member States and civil society to translate the concept of the responsibility to protect from word to deed, so as to ensure timely action when populations face genocide, ethnic cleansing or crimes against humanity.

Finally, we must transform the United Nations itself. We must adapt to meet new needs and ensure the highest standards of ethics, integrity and accountability, so as to demonstrate that we are fully answerable to all Member States and to people around the world.

We will be judged in the future on the actions we take today -- on results. On this United Nations Day, let us rededicate ourselves to achieving them.

Full text available at:

II. R2P Applied in Burma/Myanmar

United Nations
15 October 2007

() During the first meeting between the President of the FIDH, Souhayr Belhassen and the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Mr. Ban Ki-Moon affirmed his desire to work closely with the FIDH for the protection and promotion of Human Rights.

Taking the seriousness of the situation into account, the Secretary-General gave assurances once again that Myanmar (Burma) was one of his priorities. He intends to mobilise all his powers of influence, especially in China, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Singapore, as well as in Thailand and the Philippines. He emphasised his teadfast determination to make every effort to remedy the situation in that country.

The Secretary-General also considers the situation in Darfur to be the first priority of his mandate. He spoke of his hope regarding some recent developments concerning the deployment of the ybrid force1 and the progress of the political negotiations in view of the conference of 27th October.

() The Secretary-General also reaffirmed his desire to operationalise the principle of the responsibility to protect recognised by the General Assembly a year ago.

() The Secretary-General also thanked the FIDH for its contribution to the work of the United Nations, stressing the oble and undamental character of its commitment, declaring that the important perspective of the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 2008 would be an important occasion to uphold the struggle in which they were engaged.

Full text available at:

Sai Wansai
Shan Herald Agency for News
05 October 2007

The only way to stop this "reign of terror" and tyrannical rule in Burma is a full scale humanitarian intervention. Where have all the noises of "responsibility to protect", which unofficially have been endorsed by almost all democratic countries gone?

It is quite clear that the UN Security Council cannot undertake any such intervention, where China for fear of exposing its gross human rights violations and Russia, which is struggling hard to bounce back as a third world champion of Cold War days, wield veto power and has also make use of it to protect the Burmese junta. And so it is left to the EU and US to build necessary consensus to physically protect this crime against humanity.

() The people of Burma has risen up many times, only to be crushed by the military. And no one could blame them for not doing enough for freedom and restoration of democracy.

Just as the Germans were not able to get rid of Hitler and his Nazi regime in pre-war days on their own and Allied forces had to come to their rescue, the people of Burma, urgently need the same type of help from international community. Anything less than this would mean the continuation of tyrannical rule indefinitely.

Furthermore, the so-called on-interference notion should be only valid for countries, which adhere to democratic principle, where the ruling government protects and look after its citizens and not that is slaughtering and harming the populace.

As such, the military junta of Burma cannot be granted the privilege and treatment with internationally accepted norm of on-interference of a sovereign state.

It is now up to the West in general to let Burma sinks further into the deep hole of Darfur-like tragedy and live with guilty consciousness or pull all its moral strength to right the wrong, restore justice, human right and democracy.

Full text available at:

III. R2P in the News

Testimony before the House Committee on the Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, and Homeland Security
Gayle Smith
Center for American Progress
23 October 2007

() I believe that H.R. 2489, the Genocide Accountability Act, is of critical importance as a matter of both principle and policy. Genocide is a crime without borders. As a matter of principle, amending the law to allow the prosecution of non-U.S. nationals resident in the United States for acts of genocide committed outside our borders is, quite simply, the right thing to do.

() Logic demands that if torturers can be held accountable in U.S. courts, so too must the perpetrators of genocide.

() There are three ways that genocide can be brought to a halt: the international community can intervene; its victims can militarily defeat its perpetrators; or the actions of the international community can force the perpetrators to alter their calculations. Even though this legislation focuses on punishment, it can significantly affect the latter of these methods, strengthening the tools available to policymakers in their efforts to end genocide. If would-be perpetrators know that the long arm of U.S. law can reach out and hold them accountable for their actions, that may change the equation and serve as a meaningful deterrent to launching a campaign of genocide and mass atrocity.

() First, it will reinforce Americas commitment to the rule of law. Significantly, H.R. 2489 will give teeth to the Convention on Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, to which the United States is a signatory. () By ensuring that the perpetrators of genocide can and will be prosecuted in the United States, we can uphold our commitment to the Convention and begin the arduous but necessary process of rendering the Convention a tool for change rather than a lofty but powerless statement of intent.

Second, it will contribute to our and other international efforts to break the cycle of impunity that allows for and perpetuates acts of genocide. In many cases, genocide and crimes against humanity occur in cycles, and those cycles are not broken until and unless justice is served. The wave of killings that constituted the Rwandan genocide, for example, were not the first in modern history.

() Third, it will send a real-time signal to perpetrators who remain outside the law that there is a mechanism in place to hold them accountable for their crimes. This point is critical, as in Darfur today, one of the primary challenges we face is that the government of Sudan and its proxy, the janajaweed militia, have no reason to believe that there is a cost for their actions. They have defied the will of the international community and rejected the findings of the International Criminal Court. However reprehensible their denial of responsibility may be, it is understandable. There has been no cost because the international communitys words have not been reinforced by actions.

()Fourth, it couldn a small but significant waynitiate the critical but tardy process of giving meaning to the doctrine of the responsibility to protect. Endorsed by a majority of members of the United Nations, and invoked in many a speech given by American policymakers, the doctrine of the responsibility to protect posits that where a government is unable or unwilling to protect its own citizens, the international community has a responsibility to act. It is a principled doctrine that aspires to translate into policy the best features of our common humanity.

It is also, at present, an empty doctrine. I have just returned from Darfur, where, as they enter the fifth year of abuse, violence, directed attacks, rape, and displacement, the people of Darfur are waiting for a U.N. forcegreed to a full four years after their nightmare began-that as yet has received no offers of armored helicopters or the other equipment necessary for a successful protection mission.

They are experiencing first-hand our failure to act on the responsibility to protect. They are watching as those indicted by the International Criminal Court continue in positions of power, and those known to have played a role in the destruction of their homes, livelihoods, and communities roam free. Amending our laws will not protect them today or tomorrow; it will, however, provide us with the legal means to take action against the perpetrators in the United States and could thus serve to protect Darfurs people in the future.

Fifth and finally, it will affect peoples lives. You may recall a case in the 1990s, when a young Ethiopian woman working in an Atlanta hotel came face to face with the man who had tortured her during what was called the ed Terror in Mengistu Haile Mariams Ethiopia. Because hers was a case of torture, U.S. law allowed her to bring suit in the United States, ultimately with success. One of the women who attended the trial victim herself, told the New York Times, "Before I was tied up and hanging upside down. But this time I am standing up and facing him. I don't have to be afraid of him. She went on to say that his is everybody's case, not just mine.r
Honorable Chairman and Members of the Subcommittee, this is the pointmending our laws to ensure that non-U.S. citizens who commit acts of genocide can be tried in the United States is everybodys case. It is obviously of paramount importance to genocides victims, but the case is also ours if we are to stand up for accountability, the rule of law, and justice.

Full text available at:

Jeremy Kinsman
The Toronto Star
21 October 2007

When Toronto was bidding to host the 2008 Olympic Games, the mayor of Rome gave the bid team some advice, having just lost Rome's bid to host in 2004 to a sentimentally attractive campaign by Athens. According to Francesco Rutelli, the IOC veers between safe "technical" bids and "political" bids representing a more daring "idea."

Toronto's campaign turned out sadly underwhelming and embarrassed by the city's goofy mayor, but wariness persisted that the still semi-totalitarian Chinese regime might damage the Games.

Still, the bigger and more interesting question was its opposite: What could hosting the Games do to the Chinese regime? Nine months from the event, it is apparent that the optimists may have had it right. The responsibility of hosting the world is having a positive effect on Chinese policy. But will it last past next summer?

() With a vast population, long history and semi-throwback hybrid social model, China sees the world by its own lights. Attachment to the principle of non-interference in the sovereign affairs of states may seem retrograde to Canadian believers in the international community's "responsibility to protect." Yet, it is part of a strong belief system of a country sensitive to a history of outside meddling. But unfortunately, rogue regimes determined to get away with doing whatever they want inside their own borders such as North Korea, Sudan, Zimbabwe and Burma have counted on Chinese principles for support.

Until now.

() In Sudan, strongman Omar al-Bashir has been defying the world community over his wilful stomping on Darfuris, confident that the Chinese, who have been developing energy sources in Sudan, would veto any intervention from the UN. But in the past year, the Chinese have been quietly telling al-Bashir to get a more acceptable act together.

() The issue of the Games is a trump card they can't ignore.

The Chinese are also apparently repelled by the crudeness of the repugnant regime in Burma. Burma is more than a behavioural eyesore on China's border. It is a potentially destabilizing situation and the more alert Chinese can see that fat dictator generals who order the shooting of monks are the problem, not the solution.

True, the Chinese have resource interests there, and true, less than 20 years ago they wantonly shot demonstrators at Tiananmen. But the Chinese regime today is not 1989's, and younger political cadres are reportedly arguing that tomorrow's leadership must be more open still to match China's growing economic and intellectual integration with the rest of the world.

China still has miles to go before the constructiveness of their international role matches the global reach of their economy, and we'll only know when the Games are over if these signs of forward movement will last. But the news on China is looking better, and that's good for the world.

Full text available at:

Brett Cox and Stephanie Koorey
ASEAN Focus Group
Special Reportctober 2007

() APEC is a multilateral body primarily focused on economic and trade issues. It is therefore no surprise that the Leaders Declaration "Strengthening our community, building a sustainable future" of September 9, 2007 discussed issues such as regional economic structural reform, free trade agreements and climate change. However, the declaration's section "Enhancing Human Security" also affirms forum members' interest in security issues, but within clear parameters and with a focus on the nexus between human security and economic development.

Consistent with much of the literature on human security, the APEC conference affirmed that "human security is essential to economic growth and prosperity". The resultant statements listed a number of risks and challenges to human security - terrorism, pandemics, illicit drugs, contaminated products and natural disasters.

To this end, APEC committed to a number of steps including pandemic preparedness, a more robust approach to food safety, preparedness for natural disasters, an ongoing commitment to countering terrorism and the dangers posed by the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.

These are important steps in their own right. Natural disasters can have a devastating impact on people, communities and economies while outbreaks of diseases can impose substantial burdens not only on their victims, but on the health systems of developing states. Similarly, terrorism has blighted a number of APEC states, including Australia, the USA, Indonesia and the Philippines.

This APEC human security agenda therefore appears to be seeking to address real issues that have serious consequences for the people of APEC countries. However, this agenda has a definite narrow approach, and does not address a comprehensive human security agenda, best encapsulated under the rubric of Responsibility to Protect. The Responsibility to Protect provides a basis for the international community to take measures to protect people from extreme or sustained violence and persecution, including from their own governments. These measures can be preventative, through diplomatic means, or they can seek to resolve existing violence through mediation or intervention.

APEC has clearly steered away from this wider definition of human security, and its commensurate potential obligations that clearly could lead to intervening in another member state's internal business. It has, reflecting the two pillars of human security, focused on "freedom from want" as opposed to "freedom from fear".

Many APEC states have a very strong resistance to any measures that might allow interference in sovereign state affairs. Members would probably not have signed up to any statement that left open the door for APEC forum involvement in the management of what are seen as internal matters.

() Multilateral fora such as APEC keep diplomatic channels open and further friendly relations among states. Further, it can be argued that freedom from fear is mitigated by a freedom from want - that developed states with robust economies are unlikely to become collapsed, fragile or predatory.

WATCHPOINT: In terms of a human security approach, is this the best we can expect out of APEC and is it enough?

Full text available at:

Ramesh Thakur
The Canberra Times
16 October 2007

The violent crackdown against the mass protests led by Buddhist monks in Burma is the latest, but surely not the last, call on our conscience without borders. About 100 years ago, an accepted attribute of sovereignty was the right of states to meet by force internal challenges to their authority and external threats to their security.

The two world wars brought home the need to confront armed aggressors and warmongers. The Holocaust awakened us to the enormity of the evil of internal atrocities. The progressive internationalisation of the human conscience in the last century found expression in the parallel growth and expansion of human rights and international humanitarian law. Both converge in the protection of civilians and punishment of perpetrators against the backdrop of government-instigated atrocity crimes such as genocide, ethnic cleansing and large-scale killings.

Protect the monks and punish the junta in Burma, and protect the Darfuris and punish their tormentors in Sudan, and so on. On both counts, progress to date has been more rhetorical than operational.

() The failure to act amounts to the best lacking the courage of their conviction while the worst engage in mass murder with passionate intensity. "Mobilising political will" is a more prosaic way of saying that the best need to rediscover and act on their convictions. Darfur is the current poster child for callous international indifference, joining Srebrenica and Rwanda as the defining icons of the 1990s.

As these examples show, changes in the nature of armed conflict have put civilians on the front line of conflict-related casualties, from about 25 per cent during World War I to about 65 per cent in World War II and up to 90 per cent today.

() Two of the most significant normative advances since 1945 are the establishment of the International Criminal Court in 1998 and the United Nation's adoption of the responsibility to protect in 2005. Both agendas encroach substantially on national sovereignty, the first with respect to the norm of non-intervention and the second with respect to sovereign impunity even of heads of state.

() Both with protection and prosecution, the default responsibility remains with states. Only if and when they are unable or unwilling does the community of states have the duty to step in with international protection and prosecution.

But who is "the international community"? The UN Security Council is the only international law-enforcement body but faces serious leakage of representational legitimacy with each passing year. How, given their own domestic records, can Russia and China as two permanent members authorise intervention against the Burmese junta? The moral authority of the United States, a third permanent member and once the champion-in-chief of universal human rights, is also compromised in the aftermath of serious weakening of international humanitarian law, retrenchments from human-rights practices and outsourcing of torture.

() The solution to both dilemmas is to go back to the rule of law which tames the use of force both internally and internationally. And that means codifying the responsibility to protect, acting on it through agreed procedures and institutions, buying into the ICC, and then having the moral force, legal authority, material capacity and courage of conviction to topple the tyrants of the world, from Afghanistan (under Taliban rule) and Burma to Darfur and Zimbabwe, and put them on trial at The Hague.

Full text available at:

Resolution on the Responsibility to Protect
24 September 2007

On September 16, 2005, in the General Assembly of the United Nations, the United States and all other member states adopted the World Summit Outcome declaration that included the responsibility to protect (see appended text).

() The Christian community has always affirmed that, in response to the question m I my brothers keeper? (Genesis 4:9), we are indeed the protectors of one another. This affirmation is grounded in the prophetic call to protect the other the strangers, the weak and the dispossessed.

() The Christian community also believes that God hears the cry of the oppressed, and indeed the cry of the very blood that it spilled through injustice (Genesis 4:10). () The responsibility to protect as outlined by the United Nations correlates as to our responsibility collectively as nations. As Christians, we urge our nation to take up this responsibility in our name.

The nations of the world committed themselves to the principle of the responsibility to protect in September 2005, and thus affirmed the related principle that the peace and security of people are not trumped by claims of national sovereignty;

()The National Council of Churches USA recognizes the importance of consulting and working with our partner organizations and member communions partner denominations in countries where the situation appears to warrant the application of the principle of the responsibility to protect;

The National Council of Churches USA affirms the identification of the responsibility to protect as a moral issue as stated by the Council of Religious Leaders of Metropolitan Chicago, who were among the earliest supporters of this principle; and, The Responsibility to Protect (R2P) Coalition has called on the people of the US and its leaders to embrace the norm of the responsibility to protect as a foreign policy priority;

The National Council of Churches USA endorses the Responsibility to Protect and, recognizing that war is always a failure to find peaceful resolution to conflict, encourages the US Government and the international community always to first seek non-violent means of intervention, and exhaust all opportunities for peaceful resolution, as a means of protecting those threatened by genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing, and crimes against humanity;

The National Council of Churches USA calls upon the US Government to effectively implement the obligations of the R2P, in ways that reflect the international consensus on the criteria for action, and to take leadership within the international community to meet these obligations;

The National Council of Churches USA calls upon the US Government to work with the international community in ensuring that their common commitment to the responsibility to protect is met, especially through the strengthening of early warning capabilities so that such atrocity crimes might be prevented in the future;

The National Council of Churches USA calls upon its member churches to affirm the principle of the responsibility to protect, to support efforts that lead to the implementation of the international commitment to this principle, to join together with other Americans in efforts, such as those of the R2P Coalition, to promote a US government commitment to uphold the responsibility to protect both domestically and globally, and to educate our collective constituencies on the religious and moral imperatives inherent in this principle. ()

Full text unavailable

IV. Commentary on Darfur

Irwin Cotler
National Post (Canada)
16 October 2007

Last week, the second anniversary of global leaders' collective endorsement of the Responsibility to Protect (R2P) doctrine was marked by a student-led rally on Parliament Hill urging the government "not to divert its eyes from the genocide in Darfur." Sudan's heroic human rights figure, Salih Mahmoud Osman, has just made an impassioned appeal at the Global Conference on the Prevention of Genocide at McGill University for "Canada to act now -- tomorrow will be too late."

Yet, Prime Minister Stephen Harper's Sept. 25 address to the Council on Foreign Relations in New York City failed even to mention the African continent, let alone the genocide in Darfur, even as the killing fields intensify.

Sudanese forces recently razed the village of Haskanita, displacing 15,000 civilians and killing 100. A subsequent attack on the town of Muhajeria killed at least 45 people, displacing countless others. Andrew Natsios, U.S. Special Envoy to Sudan, described to me a "poisonous atmosphere" on the eve of peace negotiations this month in Libya.

() The Conservative government's failure to make Darfur a priority is especially disturbing given Canada's role as R2P's principal architect. The doctrine authorizes international collective action to "protect [a state's] population from genocide, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity," if that state is unable or unwilling to protect its own citizens, or worse, as in the case of Sudan, if that state is the author of such criminality.

The inaction of the international community in Darfur is a betrayal of the Sudanese people and a repudiation of R2P. We must ensure that Responsibility to Protect is not empty rhetoric, but rather an effective commitment to protect people and promote peace. Canada should lead by example in Darfur through the following [ ] steps:

-Training mission personnel to handle issues of sexual-and gender-based violence. Sexual violence--an endemic feature of the crisis in Darfur -- remains largely ignored and sometimes aggravated by AU troops and Sudanese police.

-Enhancing Canada's humanitarian contribution, particularly given the federal government's recently announced $14-billion surplus. Darfur's humanitarian assistance system is itself on life support as financial contributions from donor countries lag behind UN targets, exacerbating severely under-funded humanitarian aid organizations.

-Hold Sudanese genocidaires accountable for their crimes. Sudan's designation of Ahmed Haroun-- charged by the International Criminal Court with crimes against humanity and genocide--as Minister of State for Humanitarian Affairs, and the person responsible for hearing human rights complaints, is scandalous. The culture of impunity must end.

-Promoting a greater role for the UN Office of the Special Advisor on the Prevention of Genocide--mandated to monitor Sudan and to prevent other Darfurs, yet hampered by a limited staff and severe underfunding.

-Collaborating with UN Human Rights Council members to ensure the council's efficacy and fair-mindedness. The council has yet to adopt one resolution condemning the crimes against humanity in Darfur, continuing to afford the world's major human rights violators exculpatory immunity.

() Realizing that the 1994 Rwandan massacre was a preventable genocide led Canada to promote R2P to underpin the moral injunction of "never again." Should the international community --including Canada--fail to act now, "never again" will become "yet again."

Full text available at:

Sue Montgomery
CanWest News Service
13 October 2007

Canada should take a leading role in bringing the ongoing slaughter of millions of civilians in the Darfur region of Sudan to an end, Senator Romeo Dallaire said Saturday.

Dallaire, a retired Canadian Forces general who commanded the United Nations peacekeeping force in Rwanda during the Tutsi genocide in 1994, said Ottawa has shown no willingness to uphold the "responsibility to protect" the doctrine which it came up with and convinced the United Nations to accept in 2005.

"Canada loves its reputation but is not willing to pay the price," he said in an interview at a conference on the prevention of genocide.

() "What message does silence bring to the victims in Darfur, what message does the silence bring to the perpetrators?" he said. "People need our help and attention now."

() The Sudanese government has steadfastly rejected the full deployment of a proposed African Union-United Nations protection force to Darfur, and impedes efforts to protect civilians being raped and killed."I'm still in awe in the most pejorative way of how we're being fiddled with by an astute, foxy and genocidal regime in Sudan," Dallaire said. "What you have is the Sudanese applying all kinds of problems that ultimately will render a force ineffective."

The ICC issued an arrest warrant in April for Sudan's Minister of State for Humanitarian Affairs, Ahmed Haroun, who is believed to have participated in official meetings in Darfur where he allegedly incited "Janjaweed" militia and army forces to attack specific ethnic groups. There is also a warrant for the arrest of "Janjaweed" militia leader Ali Mohammed Ali.

But the warrants have yet to be served and that will only be done if pressure is brought down on the Sudanese government to arrest the men, Moreno-Ocampo said.

() The West also has to push China, whom Dallaire called the "vultures of Africa" and other countries with influence in Khartoum, to stop the slaughter.

Full text available at:

V. Upcoming Events

Opens 02 November 2007 in select cities

DARFUR NOW is a story of hope in the midst of one of humanity's darkest hours a call to action for people everywhere to end the catastrophe unfolding in Darfur, Sudan. In this documentary, the struggles and achievements of six different individuals from inside Darfur and around the world bring to light the tragedy in Sudan and show how the actions of one person can make a difference to millions.

Written and directed by Ted Braun, the film explores the Darfur conflict through the first-hand experiences of Don Cheadle, Hejewa Adam, Pablo Recalde, Ahmed Mohammed Abakar, Luis Moreno-Ocampo, and Adam Sterling. () Produced by Cathy Schulman, Don Cheadle and Mark Jonathan Harris. ()

Rated PG for thematic material involving crimes against humanity.

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